Leash training an Aussie? Help!

Franny CarufeFranny Carufe Posts: 1Member
edited 20 February, 2014 in Australian Shepherd
We got a 1 year-old Australian Shepherd 7 months ago. He's smart and well mannered (despite his boundless energy). He's obedient in the house or fenced-in back yard, but as soon as we put a leash on and go out for a walk, he pulls like crazy, wanting to explore everything. He pulls so hard he chokes himself and coughs. It's like he doesn't even hear my voice, and he suddenly becomes uninterested in the treats I try to give him (that he LOVES at home). If he gets off, he bolts to the nearest dog or stranger--and boy can he bolt. The weird thing is, when we take him to our local nature preserve with very few other people or dogs, we can take him off the leash and he'll stay with us, calm & happy. He likes some distance to trot ahead, but he doesn't bolt off. I would love to be able to take him on walks & jogs in the neighborhood or at a park, but right now that's nearly impossible (and pretty embarrassing). Any tips on teaching your dog to ignore those neighborhood/park distractions while on a leash? (NOTE: We've tried the Gentle Leader leash, but rather than solving the root issue, it seems to be more of a temporary fix.) Thanks in advance for the advice!


  • Jess DavisJess Davis Posts: 833Member
    edited 20 February, 2014
    Try reading Control Unleashed: Puppy Program. It'll help you build some attention around distractions and impulse control. Start somewhere quiet, master the skills you want and then gradually increase the difficulty. If you practice in your kitchen and then go out to the park your dog will be totally overwhelmed. It'd be like teaching your dog basic arithmetic and then asking your dog to do calculus at a rock concert. Most people introduce the concepts and then ramp up the difficulty too far too fast. In the mean time, use a leash to stop undesirable behaviour from being rehearsed.
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